Healthy Gut Bacteria
Healthy Gut Bacteria
Do you remember the nursery rhyme, Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?
Well! there is more than one type of garden to grow and the most important one is right inside us.
When we eat, we are simply feeding the micro-organisms that live in our GI tract. It’s that simple! The natural and beneficial flora in a healthy gut keep the pathogens (the bad bacteria) at bay. Diets rich in processed and junk foods feed the pathogens at the expense of the beneficial flora so the bad bacteria proliferate and cause nutritional deficiencies and ill health. It’s important to note that the micro-organisms in your body outnumber the cells in your body by ten to one and are mostly in your intestinal system.
Your digestive system is responsible for about 80% of the function of your immune system. Your mind and your mood are also controlled by the functioning of a healthy gut. We are all familiar with the term ‘gut feeling’! that’s because the serotonin (happy hormones) cruising your body are found naturally in the human brain but primarily produced in your gut. It is also found in a variety of plant sources, including vegetables, fruits, and even mushrooms. Categorized as a neurotransmitter, it is important in transmitting nerve impulses. The amino acid tryptophan is credited with producing serotonin in the body.
Serotonin can be considered a “happy” hormone, as it greatly influences an overall sense of well-being. It also helps to regulate moods, temper anxiety, and relieve depression. It is also credited with being a natural sleep aid. It even plays an important role in regulating such things as aggression, appetite, and sexuality.
What are the ways you can ensure you have good bacteria in your gut?
One of the most powerful things you can do is to remove sugar and foods that convert to sugars very rapidly from your diet because they act as nourishment or ‘fertiliser’ for the pathogens (bad bacteria). That is what the pathogens feed and multiply off. Environmental and lifestyle factors as we all know contribute of course to good health but the vast majority of clients I see are severely lacking when it comes to good probiotic bacteria, throwing their gut flora ratio completely off kilter and causing an array of health disorders.
So what’s the solution?
A wholefoods plant based diet with plenty of organic vegetables is an amazing source of nutrients and fibre that create a happy home for our little friends. When we feed the ‘good guys’ they will take care of the ‘bad guys’ on their own. We think we are feeding ourselves when we eat but really we are feeding our little friends.
Eating foods such as miso, pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, umeboshi plums, that have been cultured with different bacteria grow and reproduce in your system. The fermented foods such as those mentioned here are known as ‘Probiotics’, they support life. A probiotic is a live microbial food that beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance. A Macrobiotic diet is very high in fermented foods and potentially high in healthy bacteria.
Poor food choices combined with stressful living is a recipe for disaster. Stress can also have a great impact on healthy intestinal flora. When we are stressed out with a 24/7 lifestyle we increase acid levels in the stomach that can pollute our internal garden and reduce the number of healthy bacteria. Eating fermented foods with alkaline forming foods will then help enrich our intestinal bacteria.
To reduce stomach acidity make this amazing tea;
This tea helps with sickness or digestive problems and is simple to make.
1 teaspoon kuzu*
1 Umeboshi plum
Several drops of Shoyu
Dissolve one teaspoon of pure kudzu in 2 or 3 tablespoons of water. Add 1 cup of cold water to the dissolved kudzu.
Bring to a boil over a very low flame, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to avoid lumping, until the liquid becomes translucent, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the pulp of 1 umeboshi plum that has been pitted and finely chopped. Reduce the flame to low. Add several drops of shoyu and gently stir. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Drink and eat while hot.
* KUZU – Macrobiotic home remedies based on kudzu drinks are widely used, as they help in a number of common ailments. These are made from the starch of kudzu, a gigantic root that is bigger than an average man, typically growing to about 100 kg per root. It is widely used in both traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine. Available from most natural food stores.
I encourage you all to get involved in growing a healthy garden inside you by eating foods that will support healthy bacteria. Your digestive system and overall health will love you for it.
In good health